On a journey to learn about progress against breast cancerAfter going through breast cancer treatment over 20 years ago in 1993, I had a lot of questions.

I wondered: What are the drivers behind breast cancer and other cancers? What can we do to prevent cancer from developing? What progress are we making towards better treatments with fewer side effects?

It was very hard to find reliable information on these questions that put what was going on into context. Everything was presented as a “breakthrough” but all those breakthroughs didn’t seem to be getting us very far.

I also was turned off by fundraising campaigns that “celebrated survivors,” and I wondered how I could contribute time or dollars more effectively to make a difference.

After a second diagnosis of early stage breast cancer in 2005, I got involved as a volunteer with several breast cancer organizations and took the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD course, which trains advocates in the basics of breast cancer science.

Drawing on my knowledge from Project LEAD, I’ve served as a patient advocate reviewer on many panels over the years since then reviewing breast cancer research proposals for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and the California Breast Cancer Research Program.

The Project LEAD training and serving as a peer reviewer gave me a bit of a window into what was going on in the cancer research world, and it was fascinating.

I began to think about starting a blog to try to share, in a neutral and readable manner, some of the reported developments in cancer research that make a difference–at least from my perspective as a patient advocate.

These are the kinds of things I wanted to know and that I’m still looking to understand better. I’m convinced that being better informed helps us to be better advocates in our health care, for ourselves and for those we care about.

Since I started this blog in 2013, it has been a great learning process and I always enjoy exchanging views and learning from each other. Your comments are most welcome and always greatly appreciated!

I have a masters degree in business administration and worked for the federal government in Washington, D.C. for 30 years. I live in Virginia and enjoy hiking, playing golf, gardening and reading.

You can read more about my breast cancer story here.

Lisa DeFerrari


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